Germany was a popular country last week. Bobby Fischer contemplated acquiring German citizenship to avoid deportation to the United States from Japan. Vishy Anand triumphed yesterday at the powerful tournament in Dortmund. In the final match, the Indian superstar defeated world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.
Less noticeable was Alexander Morozevich's spectacular victory at the traditional tournament in Biel, Switzerland. The Russian finished the six-grandmaster double round robin event with 71/2 points in 10 games. India's Krishnan Sasikiran had six points. Former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine, Yannick Pelletier of Switzerland and Etienne Bacrot of France all scored 41/2 points. Englishman Luke McShane was last with three points.
Spicing the French
When the English grandmaster Jonathan Speelman introduced a sharp central pawn sacrifice in the Rubinstein variation of the French defense eight years ago, Anand and several Georgian grandmasters soon followed his idea. Now Morozevich has joined the crowd from Biel.
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 (The Burn variation, 4...Nf6 5.Bg5 dxe4, is also in Morozevich's playbook.) 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Bd3 (The game Volokitin-Gaprindashvili, played last year in Batumi, remarkably resembles this game. After 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.c3 Bd6 8.Bd3 c5 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Qe2 0-0 11.Bg5 h6 12.h4 e5!? [the main idea] 13.0-0-0 Qb6 14.Nxe5 Re8, white has the pawn on c3 instead of the bishop on d2. That allowed him to play 15.Bc4! Bg4 16.Bxf7+ Kf8, but now instead of 17.f3, the elegant 17.Bc4!! could have decided the game in his favor, for example 17...Rxe5 18.Qxe5 Re8 19.Qxf6+!! gxf6 20.Bxh6+ Ke7 21.Rhe1+ wins; or 17...Re7 18.Ng6+ Ke8 19.Qc2 Bxd1 20.Rxd1 hxg5 21.Nxe7 Kxe7 22.Qg6 wins; and, of course, after 17...Bxe2? 18.Ng6 mates.)
6...c5 7.Nxf6+ Nxf6 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Qe2 0-0 10.Bg5 (The humble 10.Bd2 was met by 10...e5!? in the game Ivanchuk-Anand, Moscow 2001. After 11.0-0-0 e4 12.Bxe4 Qe7 13.Rhe1 Qe6 14.a3 Nxe4 15.Qxe4 Bxf2, black equalized.) 10...h6 11.h4!? (In the game Grischuk-Gaprindashvili, Ubeda 1999, black was able to counter 11.Bh4 with 11...Qa5+ and after 12.Kf1 Be7 13.g4 Rd8 14.g5 hxg5 15.Bxg5 e5! 16.h4 e4!? withstood the attack.) 11...Qa5+ (Black cannot win the piece: After 11...hxg5 12.hxg5 Nd5? 13.Bh7+! Kh8 14.Qe4! white has a mating attack.) 12.Bd2 Qb6 13.0-0-0 (In the game Ponomariov-Speelman, Pamplona 1996, white castled to the other wing 13.0-0. The English grandmaster later thought that taking the pawn with 13...Qxb2 was possible, but during the game he employed his patented pawn sacrifice: 13...e5!? that led to an attractive draw: 14.Nxe5 Re8 15.Nc4 Qd8 16.Qf3 Bg4 17.Qxb7 Rb8 18.Qa6 Ne4 19.Be3 Bf3 20.gxf3 Qxh4 21.Bxe4 Rxe4 22.fxe4 Qg4+ 23.Kh2 with a perpetual check.)
13...e5! (Like Speelman, Anand and Gaprindashvili, Morozevich continues aggressively, opening the road for his light bishop.) 14.Nxe5! (The right way to snatch a pawn. After 14.Qxe5 Re8 15.Qf4 Be6, black develops and wins the pawn back later.) 14...Re8 15.Nc4? (Pelletier blunders away a forced draw after 15.Bc4! Bd4!? 16.Bxf7+ Kf8 17.Bb4+! Qxb4 18.Rxd4! Qxd4 19.Bxe8 Nxe8 20.Ng6+ Kf7 21.Nh8+ Kf8 22.Ng6+ with a perpetual check.) 15...Qa6 16.Qf3 Bg4 17.Qg3 Qxa2 (Not only does black win the pawn back, but the white king is in a danger.) 18.Bc3 (White's position is hanging by a thread and black does not take advantage of it.)
18...Ne4?! (A good practical solution, leading to a better endgame. But with the centralizing 18...Rad8! Morozevich could have finished the game faster. The idea is 19.Bxf6? Qa1+ 20.Kd2 Bb4+! and 21...Re2 mate; or 19.f3 Re2! 20.b3 Rxd3! winning. And after 19.Na3 Bd6! 20.f4 Nd5! takes care of the bad placement of the white queen and wins.) 19.Bxe4 Rxe4 (The immediate 19...Qa1+ is premature: 20.Kd2 Rad8+ and now not 21.Bd3? Re2 mate, but 21.Nd6! saves white.) 20.Nd2 (After 20.b3 Rxc4! leads to a king-hunt: 21.bxc4 Ba3+ 22.Kd2 Rd8+ 23.Ke3 Bc5+ 24.Bd4 [24.Rd4 Qxc2!] 24...Re8+ 25.Kf4 Qxc4!, threatening 25...Bd6+ with a mating finish.) 20...Rd4! 21.Bxd4 Bxd4 22.Qb3 Qa1+ 23.Nb1 Bxd1 24.Rxd1 Bxf2 (Black is a pawn up and threatens to switch his bishop to the diagonal c1-h6. White's activity is only temporary.) 25.Rd7 (After 25.Rf1?! Bxh4 26.Qxf7+ Kh8 the threat 27...Bg5+ is hard to stop.) 25...Rf8 26.h5 Qa5 (Trading pawns, but black also had 26...Bh4 27.c3 Bg5+ 28.Kc2 Qa5!, threatening 29...Qf5+.) 27.Nc3 Qxh5 28.Qxb7 Re8 (The rook comes to life when white is short of time.) 29.Kb1 Bb6 30.Ka2 Qf5 31.Kb3 Re3 32.Qd5 Re5 33.Qd6 Rc5 34.Qe7 Rc8 35.Qd6 Re8 36.Qd5 Qg6 37.Ka2 Re3 38.Qa8+ Kh7 39.Qd5 Re6?! (39...Qxc2! 40.Qxf7 Rg3 was more simple to win.) 40.Qd2 White lost on time, unable to complete this move. His position is difficult anyway after 40...Rf6, threatening 41...Rf2. Solution to today's study by H. Rinck (White: Kd3,Qc4,Ne6; Black: Kb8,Qe8): 1.Qc7+ Ka8 2.Qa5+ Kb7 (On 2...Kb8 3.Qb6+ wins.) 3.Nc5+ Kb8 (On 3...Kc6 4.Qa4+; and on 3...Kc8 4.Qa8+ wins.) 4.Qb6+ Kc8 5.Qb7+ Kd8 6.Kd2! black is in zugzwang and must lose.